Announcement of the new design from Bill Joy, head scientist at Sun Microsystems, is not scheduled until August 16th at a Stanford University technical conference, but Sun is already telling people that the idea behind the chip is "the most important semiconductor architecture of the next 20 years." MORE >>
The idea of parallel processing -- that a bunch of OK computers cooperating together should be much faster than one great computer working alone -- is not new. But then again, neither was the idea of small "applet" programs that blur the line between dormant data and executable applications. Now the man who invented Java, a programming language for writing applets, is about to unleash another brainstorm -- a single chip that incorporates parallel processing at the level of the microprocessor.